The body that oversees the Bluetooth personal-area wireless specification wants to take advantage of emerging UWB (ultrawideband) technology to create fast networks that are backward-compatible with current Bluetooth products.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has announced its intention to work with the WiMedia Alliance and the UWB Forum, which are promoting two different UWB technologies.

UWB is designed to deliver much greater bandwidth than a Wi-Fi wireless LAN, but over a distance of only a few metres. Promoters envision it as an interconnect for consumer electronics applications such as home entertainment networks that support streaming video.

Bluetooth, which delivers no more than a few megabits per second over a typical range of 10 meters or less, is deployed primarily on mobile phones and headsets and to a lesser degree in other devices such as wireless keyboards and mice.

The Bluetooth SIG industry group sees piggy-backing on UWB as a way to speed up Bluetooth for future products such as mobile phones that can capture large video files or store large amounts of digital music. It could be used to transfer megabits of music files from a PC to a phone, for example.